Amyris is a synthetic biotechnology company that develops ingredients for consumer products in categories including health, beauty, flavors, and fragrances. Amyris was founded in 2003 by Jack Newman, Kinkead Reiling, Neil Renninger, and Jay Keasling.
Amyris was founded in 2003 with a $42 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant was given to create artemisinin, an antimalarial drug. Amyris created it by engineering yeast strain genetics and fermenting them in sugarcane syrup. The technology behind the drug was given to another company in 2008, and Amyris then began pursuing the production of diesel biofuel using farnesene derived from Brazilian sugarcane. Farnesene is an oily hydrocarbon that can be added to other molecules to form various products, including diesel, jet fuel, gasoline, soap, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, lubricants, and plastics. In April 2011, Amyris moved into commercial production of farnesene after creating its own base hydrocarbon molecule called Biofene. In February 2012, Amyris announced it would no longer produce fuels, instead choosing to focus on products of higher value like cosmetics. Since then, Amyris has taken on a number of consumer product brands, including Purecane, Pipette, Biossance, MenoLabs, Rose Inc., and JVN Hair.
On August 9, 2023, Amyris announced a $190 million financial restructuring funded by Foris Ventures and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As part of the proceedings, Amyris plans to sell its family of consumer brands.